Kale and caramelized onion stuffing

Two thanksgivings ago, I made a bread pudding as our stuffing for thanksgiving. It was delicious, rich, cheesy, bready… but it wasn’t exactly stuffing. So this year, I went the opposite direction and found a stuffing without any cheese, yet it was still moist and flavorful. Kale and caramelized onion stuffing from the Smitten Kitchen. In the version I cooked up, I used slightly less olive oil, added a bag of sliced cremini mushrooms, and went the vegetable broth route. It was awesome and the caramelized onions were so so good.

First, I shaved off the crust of the sourdough loaf and cut it up to toast. It was a few days old and quite hard to get the crust off actually, but in the end you couldn’t tell at all.

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I actually caramelized the onions the day before I put together the stuffing since they take so long to cook down.

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On thanksgiving I finished assembling the stuffing and baked it. So much delicious kale, mushrooms and onions!

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Fruit salad with light and easy syrup

On a recent trip back to Ohio, I was reminded how much I love fruit salad. At one party, there were five different kinds of fruit salad!! Talk about yum. One even came in a fancy watermelon rind bowl.  That led me to make my own fruit salad for a party we attended. I really don’t understand why I never encounter fruit salad in Texas. Well, cutting up all that fruit is time consuming I suppose.

I went to the store and picked out the most delicious looking fruit they had that day. I came home with red and black plums, strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, pears and apples. Most fruit salads I’ve had in Ohio are just cut up fruit, but after looking around at some recipes I decided to make a light syrup for my salad.

Colorful fruit salad!

Colorful fruit salad!

After cubing the apple and pear, I mixed in the juice from half a lemon to keep them from turning brown. I then cut up the remaining fruit and tossed it with some mint from the garden.

I made a simple syrup by combining a  1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water, zest from one lemon and the juice from 1 and 1/2 lemons in a sauce pan. I simmered the mixture for a while to thicken it just a bit.

Right before heading to the party I poured the cooled syrup on the fruit and mixed it up. I think I’ll make this again.

Lemon zest!

Lemon zest!

Plums, pears, apples, cantaloupes, oh my.

Plums, pears, apples, cantaloupes, oh my.

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The pioneer woman’s fruit salad was definitely inspiration.

 

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Garden fresh gazpacho

What to do when you have more cucumbers, tomatoes and basil growing than you can reasonably eat or give away? Find a way to freeze them of course! A few weeks back we were in the middle of an amazing tomato season which I’m sad to say is just about over now because of the Texas summer heat. Anyhow, I decided to make some gazpacho, a delicious cold summer soup. I didn’t feel like going to the store for extra ingredients so I looked around for a recipe that mostly relied on the things I had in the garden. I ended up adapting a gazpacho recipe from The Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving.

Garden fresh vegetables

Garden fresh vegetables

My ingredients ended up being:

  • Peeled and seeded cucumbers
  • Peeled and seeded tomatoes (using the boiling water method of peeling tomatoes)
  • Two jalapeños
  • About 1.5 cups of cubed bakery bread (baked by the grocery store, not me)
  • Some olive oil
  • Fresh ground salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh basil

In the second batch I made, I added some white onion to change the flavor a bit. I liked both varieties.

My method:

Peel and seed cucumbers

Peel and seed cucumbers

Combine cucumbers and peppers (and onion if you're using it) in a food processor

Combine cucumbers and peppers (and onion if you’re using it) in a food processor

Use boiling water method to peel tomatoes. First you slice their skin and then dunk them in boiling water for about 30 - 45 seconds followed with an ice bath.

Use boiling water method to peel tomatoes. First you slice their skin and then dunk them in boiling water for about 30 – 45 seconds followed with an ice bath.

Add peeled and seeded tomatoes to the food processor and combine.

Add peeled and seeded tomatoes to the food processor and combine.

Add bread to food processor and combine.

Add bread to food processor and combine.

At the end, add olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh basil to taste.

At the end, add olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh basil to taste.

We then ate about half the batch and I froze the rest in a plastic container. A few days later I made another batch and froze it. Mmmm… garden vegetables.

Do you have a favorite gazpacho recipe I should try?

 

How our garden grows

Split pea soup

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Baking plantains & peaches

I purchased a plantain because I know that I like them but have never made them at home. I prefer the non-sweet version so I decided to try out baked tostones.  While I had the oven on I decided to whip up some baked peaches since we had some very ripe peaches.

The recipe for tostones all called for green plantains. My plantain wasn’t green but I think it turned out fine anyhow.

I sliced up the plantain into thick slices and tossed with salt and just a drizzle of olive oil.

After spreading them out on a baking sheet that was covered in olive oil spray and baking for about 15 minutes, I flipped and smashed them with the bottom of a cup.  They baked for another 15 – 20 minutes and were done! I enjoyed them but next time I’ll be sure to have some dipping sauce to go along with the tostones.

At the same time, I sliced up some peaches, tossed them with some brown sugar, cinnamon and honey and baked them until soft. Delicious!